• Sweden's news in English

Immigrants key to new housing law's success

Lydia Parafianowicz · 19 May 2009, 14:39

Published: 19 May 2009 14:39 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“Maybe it will be new Swedish immigrants that will make this legislation more popular,” said Ericsson. “I’m sure it will happen but it might just take time.”

Until May 1st, it was not possible for Swedish residents to claim full ownership over an apartment. Instead, prospective buyers have been limited to purchasing a share in a cooperative housing association (bostadsrättsförening).

These associations have ultimate control over the apartment and set restrictions on the rights of the owners to modify or sublet their dwelling.

The new legislation allows individuals to buy an apartment and gain full ownership rights, said Mikael Gullikson of the Justice Ministry.

“You’ll get a title on the apartment and it’s treated the same way as real property,” he said. “The new Swedish rules are comparable to what they call condos in the US.”

But there is a catch: the legislation applies only to new buildings, meaning individuals wanting to own apartments must find companies willing to construct for the purpose of apartment ownership. The law also applies to spaces that have not been used for living purposes for eight years or longer, or if the apartment has another use, like an office.

“It may take a while before new houses are built,” said Gullikson. “Maybe the government will consider changing the rules, but at the moment an older apartment is a cooperative and only a cooperative. Hopefully it will be possible in the future.”

Thus, Ericsson said, immigrants could be key in kick-starting the acceptance and popularity of the new law.

“If we look outside Sweden, it’s common to have this type of legislation,” she explained, adding that new people coming to the country might prefer to have ownership rights to an apartment, like they would in their home countries.

“Why shouldn’t we have this system in Sweden?” Ericsson asked. “I think it was unlucky timing because of the financial crisis, and nobody is building now. I’m sure it will happen here, but it might just take time. People will always prefer to own an apartment.”

She said she knows of only 10 current cases of companies building to sell apartments under the new law. Apart from one case in Malmö, all are in smaller towns such as Karlstad in central Sweden.

Story continues below…

“I know of a hotel that was just changed to apartments,” Ericsson said. “And I know of a place under construction in the town of Hässleholm [in southern Sweden], which has a small local company building it. […] The big firms have been discussing if they should or shouldn’t build yet, but they haven’t decided.”

Regulating all major building firms is the Swedish Construction Federation, which said there have been no bites yet from member companies for building under the new law.

“Five or ten years down the road, it probably will be very popular,” said Fredrik Isaksson, chief economist of the federation. “We anticipate having to build many new buildings; it could increase business for our member companies. It’s a good change, but we need new rules on the renting market as well.”

Lydia Parafianowicz (lydia.parafianowicz@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:06 May 19, 2009 by mkvgtired
One must remember that the building still costs money to maintain. On top of the normal cost of ownership one must pay monthly "assessments" for the upkeep/expenses of the building. My building just replaced the elevators which cost $6000 per unit in a "special assessment" (on top of the normal monthly assessments). Condo ownership is overall good, but beware of high special costs as the building ages, especially in a high-rise building with lots of amenities.
04:54 May 20, 2009 by Omidn
I think it is the time to look at this kind of ownership in Sweden. Condo owners in North America also pay small amount ($200-$300) monthly for gardening and other duties. I personally prefer Condo ownership.
11:25 May 20, 2009 by weiwiegu
dont forget if you have full ownership, it will come property tax as well the same as houses.it is an extra fees as well.
23:30 May 21, 2009 by DAVID T
What happens if you own the top flat and the roof leaks? who pays?
05:39 May 23, 2009 by Alohart
All areas outside the walls of one's apartment are common areas maintained by the condo association.

Will anything in the new law prevent speculation that has been rampant in the U.S? Absentee owners buy condo apartments just to make money, rent them to tenants who don't have pride of ownership, and the entire condo apartment complex suffers. I would much rather live in an apartment complex in which all residents are owners which tends to be true in Sweden.

Also, when one buys a condo apartment, the ownership transfer is much more complex, expensive, and time-consuming than with a coop apartment.

I own a condo apartment in Honolulu and a coop apartment in Uppsala. So far, I prefer the coop arrangement.
15:08 May 23, 2009 by 7
don't think so. seems it will be set up pretty much like a condo in the US.

i wonder how the mortgage lending will work and if banks will be offering mortgages. there shouldn't be a reason not to, but if it's more complex then they might be hesitant.

i think the owner-occupied coop version will remain dominant for larger units for the reasons you mentioned. perhaps this new form of ownership will work well for smaller buildings e.g. a 2-3 unit building.
15:18 May 23, 2009 by Willy
I believe they will be subject to the same rent control system as all other apartments: You are not allowed to charge more than what the public housing companies charge for an apartment of similar standard.

So you are free to rent it out, but not free to charge any rent you want.
22:41 May 23, 2009 by Donut
What is the swedish word for this type of housing?

Are there any of hemnet etc yet?
23:52 May 23, 2009 by Willy
The term is "ägarlägenhet", i.e. owner apartment.

As the article says, there are only ten known development projects right now in the whole country. Understandable, given the current economic situation and that only new buildings -- or buildings previously not used as homes -- are eligible.
Today's headlines
Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Presented by Stockholm University
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Referee, coach and parents in Swedish youth football fight
File photo of a referee holding a red card not related to the story. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

A football dad broke his leg in the brawl in front of 11-year-old kids after a Hammarby youth football game.

Illicit abattoir kept more than 100 bulls' penises
A couple of young bulls not related to the story. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Dried cattle genitalia, goats' heads and hundreds of litres of lard were just a few of the many strange finds discovered when police raided a property in Sweden.

This is officially Sweden's most beautiful beard
The most beautiful beard in Sweden. Photo: Memo Göcek

According to a jury of barbers and 'well known bearded profiles', that is.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available